Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Over the past fifty years, plaintiffs have called upon the federal judiciary to deal with antitrust disputes of an increasingly local nature. Although the courts have responded by generally broadening the range of activities which satisfy the substantive elements of the Sherman Act, their approach to the jurisdictional requirement of the statute has been far from consistent. As a matter of statutory construction, this inconsistency, when compared to the expansive jurisdictional approach applied to other statutes based on the commerce clause, is not justified, at least in the absence of a congressional intention to limit the reach of the Sherman Act. The Supreme Court has recently attempted to reduce some of the confusion in this area by rendering a series of decisions that broadly construe the jurisdictional scope of the Sherman Act. Despite these decisions, several lower courts have continued to narrowly interpret the jurisdictional requirement of the Act. In view of the economic realities of our interrelated economy, future courts should broadly apply the Sherman Act to local activities in order to effectively implement the Act's provisions.